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Tips on Using Incoming & Outgoing Links Effectively

Improve SEO With Proper Link Building

Tips on Using Incoming & Outgoing Links Effectively

by Jason Runyan, Advertising Solutions
Revised May 27, 2020
Originally Published July 1, 2008

Effective link building can dramatically help improve SEO; which leads to better website ranking, which leads to more qualified traffic, leads, and sales!

Website content will always be the most important factor for proper SEO (search engine optimization), followed closely by clean code.

In addition to the importance of content and code, relevant links to complimentary information (both incoming and outgoing) is of paramount importance to a website's success. Quality link building helps improve website SEO, search result ranking, customer service, and overall a positive brand perception.

What Is Link Building?

Link building is a strategic process where websites of a relevant, complimentary nature, and common goal (not competitive), place links to one another, (and similar websites) in a resource library for visitors (or similar knowledge base or help area).

Search engines like Google, consider links to related information that's complimentary-in-nature, both positive and useful. Pending both sites are legitimate and are not of a "spamming" nature; search engines will give better ranking to sites with relevant resource information available.

Complimentary site and resource links can vary from:

  • Related industries
  • Similar topics
  • News articles
  • Vendors
  • Trade directory websites, etc.

There are many benefits to proper link building and relevant link trades including:

  • Better search engine ranking for related topics
  • Increased qualified traffic to a website
  • Improved customer service & confidence

Better Search Ranking & Positioning

Search engines such as Google use incoming and outgoing links to help rank a website in search results. Websites with a large number of incoming links from related industry websites are often given a higher ranking than sites with fewer incoming links.

The theory is:

If a website has a large number of related incoming links (the site is popular to link to), then this site must be a good and trusted resource with important, useful, and relevant information.

Since a search engine's goal is to provide the most relevant and trusted information to its users, it will give the website a higher ranking in search results for that particular topic.

Increased Qualified Traffic

Participating in link trades with websites of a complimentary nature is a great way for new websites to generate immediate traffic to the website. Often new sites have a hard time generating new, free, qualified traffic while waiting for search engines to index the site for organic search ranking (SEO).

Relevant and complimentary link exchanges allow new businesses to overcome this hurdle, and bring in traffic immediately. By carefully choosing the companies to link with, the links will bring in qualified, ready-to-buy, visitors.

Choosing to link with websites that are irrelevant to a company and industry rarely brings in qualified traffic. In some cases, linking to an improper site may even hurt the ranking of a website, as discussed later in this article.

Improved Customer Service & Confidence

Providing customers with links to other services they may need (that compliment the company's products and services) is considered a huge value to consumers. Providing valuable information to customers often increases customer loyalty and retention; thus providing invaluable long-term benefits for a business.

Caution should be used when linking to any website from the company website. When linking elsewhere, one is effectively endorsing that site for visitors, and hence approving of any content posted on the referred site; whether appropriate or offensive.

Avoiding Spam Directories

Search engines recognize websites with numerous, unrelated outgoing links as a type of spam. These types of sites are often referred to as a "link farm". The theory is that websites with numerous unrelated outgoing links have no inherent value, or relevant information.

  • Link farms are often given a lower ranking if not removed from the search ranking altogether (sometimes referred to as blacklisted).

  • As well, the hosting resources wasted from irrelevant traffic can often cost money in additional hosting fees, such as bandwidth overage fees.

  • From a customer service perspective, sending a customer or prospect off to a link farm can cause irreparable damage.

Link farms often include:

  • questionable content
  • viruses or malware
  • links to hacker or phishing sites
  • content offending some viewers


Overall, websites with proper link building (both incoming and outgoing) often receive higher ranking in search results. The search engine uses this as a factor when ranking the site for search results.

However, always keep in mind that participating in unrelated link trades can be a major waste of time, hosting resources, and even hurt the ranking of a company's website with search engines, not to mention relations with customers.

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